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Thread: People who like when others feel sorry for them

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default People who like when others feel sorry for them

    One family member of mine is like that. I always get that vibe, in every single conversation that lasts more than half a minute, whether with me or someone else. Since I'm doing the "skip through the bullshit" interruptions, it is less evident in conversations with me, as I mostly prevent it by cutting him off to skip to the point.

    Generally, what he does is giving background information, little details, most often interpersonal, that indicate dissatisfaction and something negative/bad happening to him. It may be that he didn't get any help from someone or someone didn't say anything positive or said something negative about him. It may be that he didn't get what he expected from someone or simply something about his life situation. For the latter, an example would be him complaining about the fact that he doesn't have enough money as in "I was going to buy a new coat but I didn't have money for it. I had to give back the loans I took last month because I didn't have money too. The situation is getting worse and worse, I can barely scrap money to pay for the bus." and this is happening in the middle of him getting to his point about something absolutely unrelated, like someone asking how much he paid for something the other day. It's not the best example though. It may be something else, something he doesn't like that he does every day, etc..

    So sometimes this is pure manipulation, trying to make someone to feel sorry for him and provide him with some kind of help (and he may do this to another person if his expectation isn't met). But that's not always the case, sometimes he just complains about how his situation is bad and how he doesn't like something, is doing something, "has" to do something, etc.. Those cases, he just wants people to feel sorry for him.

    What do you think about such behavior - telling unrelated details in conversations (even formal conversations with unknown people!) to make others feel sorry for him/her? (exclude the manipulation part)

  2. #2
    morose bourgeoisie Array
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    It sounds like your friend is lonely and depressed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array cafe's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    INFj None


    Human beings, as a general rule, bond by bitching. Some people do carry it to an extreme.

    I have a . . . something more than an acquaintance, but less than a friend . . . that *always* has to one-up me on anything I talk about. Her kid is better, but more troublesome than my kids (). Her migraine is more painful than my headache. Her day is busier than my day.

    A lot of times when people do that, they are trying to show that they know how you feel because they've been through it too, but she somehow makes it seem dismissive and competitive. It's kind of a bummer because I like her otherwise and might make the effort to cultivate the friendship except for that habit. As it is, I'm glad she mostly only contacts me when she wants me to volunteer for something.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array
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    Jun 2012


    @nebbykoo Not depressed and definitely not lonely. Not happy too. But when the person was happy, he still used to do it. I doubt that many depressed people do this. They feel sorry for themselves, they don't want to leech that from others.

    @cafe I knew someone like that as well - competing to be the worst out there. I don't know if that may be the case with the person in OP, I haven't witnessed many long non-phone conversations, I don't meet his friends.

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